Guard of Wonderland VR Review (Oculus Rift)
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
When first coming across details of Guard of Wonderland VR I really thought to myself… Do we really need a visual novel in VR? – now I have played through it what did I think?
With this being a visual novel I do not really want to go into detail about the story, as this is a big part of what the game is offering. All I can say it stays true and fits in with the Alice in Wonderland universe, and you will get to meet every ones favourite characters like the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and even Alice along the way. Also the storyline is twisted and eerie tale intermingled with the real-world, that is written in poetic form.
During these lines of verse in the first ever visual novel to hit VR, you are going to have to part-take in some combat sequences to give this novel it’s game aspect. This is done using turned based combat, and will even include some boss fights as you progress.
Now, this turned based combat is not really that difficult, and doesn’t go to the levels of turn based games like the older Final Fantasy games. To be honest to me these just felt like a bit of filler, so you are not watching/reading the story play out in front of you with no interaction. Yes, this might make you think it all sounds a little drab, however, remember this is a visual novel, so it’s mainly about the story – and they’ve done a great job working with the lore of this fairytale.
But, there was one big fault with the battle system that could have a made it a little bit more difficult, and that was the dodging system. The game introduces this and says time moving away from the attack correctly to have the chance of taking no damage, although you can just step to side as soon as the enemy moves back to start it’s attack and it will miss you. If this was really timing based it would have added a little extra level to the interactive combat.
When it comes to the presentation visually the game does a nice job. You will be placed into 3D forest environments that match with the lore of Wonderland, but the character models are more hand-drawn 2D models. What surprised me was they really do mix well together for some strange reason – possible because it matches the idea of a VR visual novel so well. As previously mentioned the game’s story plays out in verse, so it is all very well written, however, none of this is spoken dialogue which is a shame as it would have added to great battle music and the overall audio in the game.
Given that you are going to have to dodge the enemy attacks, the game really needs to be played standing (although it says seated on its Steam store page). With this being a visual novel there really isn’t anything to the controls either, it is just selecting to move the story forward and what attack you want to do, this is just done by pointing at the indicator and pressing the trigger. Again though nothing else is needed given this is mainly a visual novel.
In this visual novel there is two new heroes in Wonderland and both will play the same levels, but there is a number of alternate endings available. Giving you a number of reasons to return to the game and providing some extra longevity into the novel – and how well it is written really deserves it.
Guard of Wonderland VR brings the first visual novel to VR, and what better place to start than Wonderland. The team at Wonder Games really have brought a well written and strange story that crosses the real-world over with Wonderland, with two new heroes. This is must buy if you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland, as you are not only going to get to meet most of your favourite characters, the novel really does stick to lore of the world in this fairytale.
Also available on HTC Vive
Developer: Wonder Games